If you watched all three games of the Atlanta Braves weekend series in Miami, two things were crystal clear.
The first thing is that the Atlanta Braves just couldn’t seem to catch a break at times, which has been the case for a majority of this season. However, the second thing was arguably more notable and intriguing for both Braves fans and the front office.
It shouldn’t take long to figure out that the second thing was indeed the performance of Marlins center fielder Starling Marte, who seemed to single-handedly win that series for the Marlins at times. If you had any doubts of this, just simply go back and watch the highlights from those three games the Braves and Marlins just played over the weekend, and then try to tell me that Marte wasn’t literally everywhere.
During these three games alone, Marte went 3/11 at the plate with 3 RBI’s and 3 runs, while also making a few notable defensive plays including throwing out two runners at home plate. The veteran outfielder continues to have a career-year in 2021, and due to Miami’s struggles is emerging as one of top players potentially available at the deadline.
Should the Atlanta Braves trade for Starling Marte?
It is no secret that the Braves will be in the market for at least one, if not two, outfielders at the deadline. When looking at the potential options that will potentially be available come late-July to fill those spots, there will be arguably none better than Marte.
As mentioned previously, Marte is in the midst of enjoying a career-year for the Marlins sporting a slash line of .351/.443/.568 with a 1.010 OPS, all of which are career-highs. It’s obvious that he would be an instant upgrade over any of the Braves outfield options (except for the obvious in Ronald Acuna Jr), but where and how would Marte fit in?
That’s the easy part; 100% instantly the everyday starter in center field. Potentially acquiring Marte would provide the Braves will three different benefits in particular.
Not only would it give Atlanta yet another elite offensive and defensive option at the top of their lineup, but it would also push notable players such as Guillermo Heredia and Ender Inciarte back to bench roles. This would allow you to mix-and-match with these veteran outfielders in pinch-hit/spot-start opportunities while also not having to rush prized prospects such as Cristian Pache and Drew Waters to the big leagues.
Now if there is one question about trading for Marte, it’s that he is a free agent at season’s end. However, as we’ve seen in previous years with trading star-caliber upcoming free agents, making the “big move” generally pays off in a big-way. Also, if you have a window to go win a World Series right now, which is what the Braves have, you have to take advantage of it because you don’t know when or if you’ll ever get another chance.
When a contender makes a trade for a truly game-changing player, it almost always pays massive dividends the moment that player takes the field. Not only does it provide a new and proven face in the everyday lineup, but can provide a contagious spark of excitement throughout the clubhouse and fanbase.
This is something that it currently appears the Braves will desperately need at some point this season. Why not make the trade if available? Also, make no mistake, Marte is 100% that caliber of player.
What would it take to get Marte? Would Miami even trade their best player to a division rival, or would they even trade him at all? Maybe just as importantly… does he even want to leave?
While the Marlins certainly seem to be headed toward selling at the deadline, a lot can change between now and then.
To acquire a player the caliber of Marte, even as a potential 2-3 month rental, you cannot make that deal without parting with something substantial. Now no, this doesn’t mean that the Braves would trade any of their big-league star players, but to make a deal as impactful as this, it would take at least 1-2 prominent young players/prospects, as well as potentially more.
As mentioned however, if you have the window to win a World Series now, and there is a player of this caliber available, you have to do it. If Marte does become available over the next month, this is the move that the Atlanta Braves could make that would truly make a significant difference going forward.